Shannon Region Conference and Sports Bureau host the South African Tag rugby team for a weekend in Limerick

The South African Tag rugby team were in Limerick recently, to explore the City and play tag rugby ahead of the 2021 Tag Rugby World Cup. The University of Limerick is set to host the 2021 World Cup, with the South African team making an early trip to have a chance to experience the world-class facilities. The visit was organised by the Shannon Region Conference and Sports Bureau, who joined the visiting team on their tour around Limerick City.

International Tag Federation (ITF) representatives, who travelled with the South African tag rugby team, paid a flying visit to Limerick to get a real taste of what the city will have to offer as hosts of the Tag World Cup in August 2021.

The Board of the ITF, together with South African TAG representatives, paid a site visit to University of Limerick and other attractions around Limerick on the city’s special ‘tag’ weekend, the Pig’n’Porter festival, to get a feel for what the host city will offer in 2021.

The visitors stayed on campus at UL and were given guided tours of the state-of-the-art facilities and playing fields which will be made available to them during the World Cup.

On their tour, the team got to visit the Treaty City Brewery on Nicholas Street, along with some iconic landmarks, such as the Treaty Stone and King John’s Castle. The South African tag rugby team also got the chance to participate in the Pig ‘n’ Porter Festival, which took place on Saturday, July 13.

Shannon Region Conference and Sports Bureau and UL met the group along with local and national tag rugby representatives at the Strand Hotel on Thursday, July 11, where the group began their tour of Limerick City.

Karen Brosnahan, of the Shannon Region Conference and Sports Bureau, said that last week’s visit whet the appetite of the groups for what awaits 2021 in Limerick.

“Shannon Region Conference and Sports Bureau were delighted to welcome both the ITF board and the South African Tag team to Limerick ahead of the Tag World Cup in 2021. The purpose of the promotional site visit was to give them an insight into what they can expect when they visit Limerick in 2021,” Karen added.

Acclaimed local chef Tom Flavin, gave a talk about the local organic food movement.

Later Dan Murphy, from Global Village Tours and band member of Hermitage Green, brought the group for a walking tour about the history of Limerick, before on to King John’s Castle for an interactive tour. The group later toured Treaty City Brewery where they were treated to a beer tasting.

south african tag rugby team

Pictured at the Limerick Strand Hotel are Dan Murphy, Global Village Tours, Tom Flavin, Executive Chef of the Strand hotel, Stuart McConnell, Chairman International Tag Federation, Stephen O’Connor, General Manager of The Limerick Strand Hotel, Karen Brosnahan, General Manager of Shannon Region Conference & Sports Bureau, and Holly English, Shannon Region Conference & Sports Bureau. Picture: Conor Owens/ilovelimerick.

A joint bid led by the UL Conference and Sports Campus and the Irish Tag Rugby Association supported by Shannon Region Conference and Sports Bureau, Failté Ireland and Limerick City and County Council was successful in winning the event for Limerick, which will see 3,000 plus tag rugby players from well over 20 countries and their entourage travel to the Treaty City in August 2021.

The event is expected to deliver a minimum €5m boost for the Limerick economy and 20,000 bed nights over its four days, with many participants travelling from the Southern Hemisphere and teams expected to travel to Ireland for up to three weeks in advance of the competition.

David Ward, Sports Business Development Manager, University of Limerick Conference & Sports Campus, said, “They really enjoyed their stay, got a sense of the excellent range of facilities we will have here but also the sense of fun around the city as well for those in the wider entourage.  The teams, of course, will be focused on the World Cup itself but they also know that they can join their supporters in enjoying the city and wider region after the event.”

Tag rugby has grown enormously in popularity over the past decade, particularly in Australia and New Zealand but also in Ireland and Great Britain. The three previous International Tag Federation World Cups were held in New Zealand (2012) and Australia (2015,2018) but organisers decided to take the next edition to the northern hemisphere and have been won over by the Limerick bid.

For more information about the Shannon Region Conference and Sports Bureau, go here.

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Pictured at the #CALLITOUT Campaign event are, Stephen O’Hare, TENI, Piotr Godzisz, Call It Hate Scientific Leader, Ellen Murray, TENI, Richard Lynch, Founder of, Dr Jennifer Schweppe and Dr Amanda Haynes, Directors of Hate and Hostility Research Group at UL. Picture: Alan Place

#CALLITOUT Campaign Highlights the Harm caused by Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia in Ireland


On Thursday, May 30 UL hosted an event for the Call it Out campaign team from Transgender Equality Network Ireland (TENI). Call it Out is a joint initiative of TENI and the Hate and Hostility Research Group at the University of Limerick. The initiative aims to highlight and address the harm caused by homophobia, biphobia, and transphobia in Ireland.

The campaign was launched on Monday, May 20 by Brendan Courtney, Jack Murphy, Ellen Murray, and Maria Walsh. The campaign aims to shine a bright light on the sometimes visible – often hidden phenomena of homophobia, biphobia and transphobia and the corresponding impact on Ireland’s LGBT+ community. The campaign is one of a number taking place across the EU this year.

More than 80% of people who participated in a recent research survey, conducted by the University of Limerick’s Hate and Hostility Research Group, agreed that lesbians and gay men, bisexual people and transgender people should be free to live their own lives as they wish. Respondents also expressed high levels of comfort with having LGBT+ people as neighbours. Of the 1395 people who took part in the survey however, only a minority believe that LGBT+ people in Ireland are at serious risk of violence because of hostility towards their sexual orientation or gender identity. Just over a third of people (36%) believe that violence against the LGBT+ community is “a serious problem” in Ireland.

Despite many positive changes in regards to LGBT+ rights and acceptance, the University of Limerick found that the Irish underestimate the on-going problems. Ellen Murray, Spokesperson for Transgender Equality Network Ireland said, “LGBT+ people still live with a background of homophobia, biphobia, and transphobia as a result of their perceived sexual orientation or gender identity. “For many, it feels like it is part of being who they are.”

The University of Limerick Hate and Hostility Research Group is led by Dr Amanda Haynes of the Department of Sociology and Dr Jennifer Schweppe from the School of Law. Amanda told ilovelimerick the importance of the campaign, “People significantly underestimate the degree to which violence, harassment, and intimidation on the basis of LGBT identity continues to be part of people’s lives in Ireland at the degree to which people modify their behaviour in order to avoid the risk of that type of hostility.”

#callitout campaign

Pictured at the #CALLITOUT Campaign Event at the University of Limerick are, Ellen Murray, TENI, Richard Lynch, and Dr Amanda Haynes, Co-Director of the Hate and Hostility Research Group at UL. Picture: Alan Place

At the event CEO at TENI Stephen O’ Hare highlighted some statistics including 1 in 3 members of the LGBT+ community have been threatened with physical violence and 1 in 5 have been punched, hit or physically attacked in public due to being LGBT+.

Stephen said, “It is a very important campaign for TENI because it is the first time that we have led a national anti-discrimination campaign that has focused on the LGBT community and we are very proud to do so. We are very proud of the support that we have received from LGBT organisations the length and breadth of Ireland and the engagement that people have shown in the campaign as it has rolled out. We are particularly grateful to the members of the LGBT community who put themselves forward to feature in the campaign, to tell their story, to talk about their experiences and to share what has happened to them and how they have grown and felt in relation to those things.”

A short film entitled “Have You Ever Felt?” written and directed by award-winning filmmaker Kate Dolan and featuring a host of emerging Irish actors from across the LGBT+ community will feature prominently on social media for the duration of the three-week campaign.

Richard Lynch, founder of spoke about his own experiences of homophobia in his younger years and how that has affected him throughout his life. Richard said, “I started finding myself in New York, I struggled with drugs and alcohol in my twenties, I am not saying it was directly stemmed from me experiencing homophobia but there was definitely an element of it because even to this day I am still not one hundred percent comfortable with myself or my self-esteem.”

Richard continued, “I love working with people like all of you, you’re great inspirations to me because you are actually walking the walk and talking the talk and ultimately that is what this campaign is about, it is about each individual one of us, it has to start with the individual and a campaign like this cannot be successful if it doesn’t start with each one of us. This is everyone’s campaign.”

The campaign will run until Monday, June 3 and everyone is encouraged to #CALLITOUT if you witness or experience any form of homophobia, transphobia or biphobia. After the campaign let’s keep the conversation going.

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Pictured at the BNest Social Enterprise Incubator Showcase 2019 at Nexus Innovation Centre, UL was Eamon Ryan and Kasia Zabinska, BNest (4th and 5th back row left) with the graduates of the BNest 2018-2019 programme. Picture: Conor Owens/ilovelimerick.

PHOTOS – BNest Social Incubator Showcase 2019 gives a voice to Midwest Social Enterprises

BNest, the first dedicated Social Enterprise Incubator, is an initiative created specifically to support social entrepreneurs nurture their start-ups, and caters to all types of organisations from charities to businesses with a social conscience. On Tuesday, March 12, BNest held their Showcase Day 2019 at Nexus Innovation Centre in UL to highlight these enterprises and the substantial progress that has been made with the help of BNest, as well as to allow others to view the real social impact that each individual organisation is having on the broader community they are serving. BNest Social Incubator Showcase 2019

Since September 2016, in partnership with Nexus Centre UL, BNest have been running a six-month programme in which emerging social enterprises learn how to get their new organisations off to the best start by focusing on key areas related to developing their enterprises, in terms of business, social and personal aspects.

Eamon Ryan who founded and self-funded BNest said, “We are the first fully-fledged social incubator in Ireland, and the idea was to create a peer group which shared experiences that could help one another. BNest has been given a home by the University of Limerick, where participants have access to the full facilities of the Nexus Innovation Centre. Last year, eight enterprises completed the programme, and this year another ten enterprises took part.”

 BNest Social Enterprise Incubator Showcase 2019

Pictured at the BNest Social Enterprise Incubator Showcase 2019 at Nexus Innovation Centre, UL was Shay Kinsella, Share A Dream Foundation, Pauline Gannon, BNest, Dr Sarah Miller, CEO of The Rediscovery Centre, Eamon Ryan and Kasia Zabinska, BNest and Professor Kerstin Mey, Vice President for Academic Affairs and Student Engagement at University of Limerick. Picture: Conor Owens/ilovelimerick.

At the BNest Social Incubator Showcase 2019, the graduates showcased their enterprises, which are achieving real social impact across the Midwest, dealing with various issues from mental health to the environment.

In addition to the display booths, a short informal presentation was made by each enterprise including, a support service for families that provides an online resource, and Thinking Jobs, a specialist recruitment agency aimed at getting a significant number of adults with Disabilities into sustainable and long-term employment.

Guest speakers included Shay Kinsella, founder and CEO of Share a Dream Foundation, Dr Sarah Miller, CEO of The Rediscovery Centre, a creative space connecting people, ideas and resources for greener living in Ireland and Professor Kerstin Mey, Vice President for Academic Affairs and Student Engagement at University of Limerick.

Professor Kerstin Mey spoke about the cohesive relationship the University of Limerick had with BNest saying, “I think you are fantastic role models for our students, the university is aiming to broaden out entrepreneurship education, including education for social entrepreneur to stimulate young people to direct their energy and their passion towards identifying and finding solutions for the issues we are facing in society, that is climate change, sustainability, or community cohesion, so it is great to see all the projects.”

Shay Kinsella spoke about his social enterprise, Share a Dream Foundation. Shay built an inclusive play centre that was suitable for all ages and abilities. Shay said, “Let’s build something in Limerick that no one else in the whole of Europe has, something really special, then all the kids, instead of going to Disney, can come to Limerick and we’ll look after them”. Share a Dream Foundation opened Dreamland, an inclusive play centre two years ago now and have had over 23,000 visitors across Ireland.

The next speaker was Dr Sarah Miller who spoke about the importance of creative social enterprises that connect people, ideas and resources. From an early age, Sarah looked at, “waste management and how we could be more resourceful.” Sarah said, “My real career as a social enterprise manager started when I moved to Ballymun.” Sarah was exposed to the, “surplus of furniture which was being disposed of to landfill also there is very high unemployment rates in Ballymun.” From there Sarah set up the Rediscovery Centre, which “rediscovers the value of waste materials” and employs the local people of Ballymun.

Current BNest Incubator participant, Project Inspire, led by Kelly Fitzgerald of Tait’s House Community Enterprise, helps young people to prepare for their future. Kelly says that working with BNest has, “Given us more confidence in how to grow our initiative. The ongoing support for our project will continue to be invaluable as we move into a brighter future.”

Limerick Gateway to Education, an educational support charity, was part of the BNest Incubator from 2016 to 2017. Founder, Suzanne Roche said, “I took part in the BNest Incubator programme and its content and ongoing support for our project has continued to be invaluable. It’s a fantastic programme as you have on the spot follow up if issues arise. A great programme to get involved in, if you’re a start-up.”

Eamon concluded, “These passionate people have worked on their projects for the past 6 months and it was so exciting to have a showcase event, so people could learn about each of the projects and meet the people behind them. It was a privilege to have people in this group working on real issues and problems facing our community and society in general.”

For more information visit or email Kasia Zabinska, BNest Manager at [email protected].

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